cover image Motor Mouse

Motor Mouse

Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Arthur Howard. Beach Lane, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9126-6

Given the title, readers may expect to meet a mouse who’s crazy about cars and always zooming about. But while Motor Mouse does have a little red car and drives it “here and there, making deliveries,” neither car nor service are central to the book’s three emotionally rich short stories. In the first, a hedgehog helps Motor Mouse and his cake-enthusiast friend Telly get out of their comfort zone and try pie on what is usually their shared end-of-the-work- week celebration, Cake Friday. In the third, he negotiates an ongoing sibling battle over hogging movie popcorn. And in the middle and most profound story, Motor Mouse hires a cab—he wants to be the passenger, for once—who takes him to his old school, where he discovers that nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. As ever, the team behind the Mr. Putter & Tabby series delights: Howard’s bright, boldly outlined cartooning keeps the mood buoyant, and Rylant offers knowing, laugh-out-loud-funny narration. But what readers ultimately come away with is deep satisfaction of having spent time with a rodent who is competent, caring, and at home in the world. Ages up to 8. [em](Apr.) [/em]